thing 7: Information Has Value

Recommended Readings, Resources, and Examples

Wallis, L. (2015). Digital Labor and Metaliteracy: Students as Critical Participants in Profit-Driven Social Media Environments. LOEX Fall Focus.

Choose Your Own Adventure Activity

Select one of the following activities to complete:

  1. Locate an example of an article or lesson plan that describes an approach to teaching using the frame Information Has Value. In a comment, post a link to the article or lesson plan (or a citation if paywalled) along with a short summary of what you read. How could you adapt or build upon this approach at your own institution?
  2. Drawing inspiration from one of the recommended readings, draft your own lesson plan related to the frame Information Has Value. Upload your lesson plan to Project CORA and/or the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy Sandbox, and post a link to it here.


  1. The lesson I examined was, “A Sample is a Tactic”: Hop Hop Pedagogy in Attribution and Citation, this lesson was developed Craig Arthur, Alyssa Archer, and Katelyn Burton. In order to to move away from simply telling students, “plagiarism is bad and you will be punished,” the creators used Hip Hop as an example to make the conversation more complex. This allows for students to think about plagiarism and citation more critically. For example by playing different songs which have been sampled from an original song, a conversation can be had investigating whether sampling is plagiarism or not. This lesson allows for students to become more engaged with what plagiarism is, and make it much more relatable.
    This lesson may be harder to do in a one-shot lesson where instructors may want their students to be more focused on different aspects of information literacy, (for plagiarism and cheating I’m sure are topics of discussion that they go over) but making it fun is important. In a session that may be longer I think this could definitely be doable.

    Building upon this same lesson, but making it somewhat different could be examining plagiarism through a lens of fashion or clothing. There are many instances where big retail giants have stolen ideas or designs from independent artists or indigenous peoples. A conversation about profit and access can also probably be had here. Something I find myself saying in classes often when talking about sources is, “if it is the first result does it make it the best quality?”. This all needs to much more developed but I think it is worth exploring in order to make the conversation about sources and plagiarism more interesting and complicated. This all goes back the framework of “Information has Value,” by recognizing the value of original work and why blatant plagiarism disrupts this.

    Arthur, Craig et al. ‘“A Sample is a Tactic’: Hip Hop Pedagogy in Attribution and Citation.” Framing Information Literacy: Teaching Grounded in Theory, Pedagogy and Practice. edited by Mary K. Oberlies and Janna Mattson. ARCL, 2018, pp. 185-195.


  2. Information has Value is most closely associated with citations, which is a big problem for my students. There are many citation practice activities out there, but the one I want to focus on is from a university in Hong Kong that focuses on in-text citations.

    There’s so few activities out there that help students with in-text citations that I really liked this. The content of the exercise applies to the knowledge practice, “Give credit to the original ideas of others through proper attribution and citation.” The exercise is neat because it uses your own name as the author so students can start to make the connection. It also explains what you did wrong and if there is more than one way to do a citation correctly.

    I think this would be a good activity for the students at my university. It is interactive and very applicable to the work they are doing. I would also suggest this to be done in their GE Capstone course.


  3. Amanda Meeks’ assignment for a photography course, Richard Prince, Aesthetics, and the Value of Information (found in CORA) intrigues me because it touches on multiple aspects of the “Information Has Value” frame.
    I’m a fan of Kahoots as a way to engage students, and Meeks’ questions (Do you use Instagram to post personal photos? How would you react if someone else hung your Instagram photo in a gallery?) are a great way to launch this presentation. After the quiz, the instructor introduces Robert Prince, “an American artist best known for his use of appropriated imagery” (from artnet, sad to confess I had to look him up), and students get fifteen minutes to research him further and share what they learn in a collaborative Google doc. Then they break up into small groups, each of which discusses a question about copyright, context, or privacy, appropriation and ethics before presenting to the rest of the class. A one-minute paper analysis serves as the assessment.

    I appreciate that this assignment helps students recognize the value of information they produce (yes, your Instagram photos are intellectual property!) as well as addressing the importance of attribution and citation and the concepts of copyright, fair use, etc. It also offers a nice balance of lecture (minimal) with individual and group work.

    I’d like to think of ways to adapt this assignment to other classes, in particular at the community college level. Maybe designer Jeremy Scott’s appropriation of iconic images from skateboard artists Jim and Jimbo Philips would be a more accessible way for first-year students in an English course to approach these issues.


  4. Admittedly I’m choosing “Making Zines: Content Creation with First-Year and Transfer Students”

    for my own fun. Why can’t an activity be fun for the instructor, though? In fact the instructor’s fun might engage

    the students.

    This is not a frame my faculty typically ask me to address, so getting buy in might be a challenge.

    Still, I could use this to “introduce the databases” at the same time. I have an FYE section where I might be able

    to negotiate with the instructor.

    I would also need a little more explanation on a couple of logistical details (How the remixing is explained, for

    ex.), though most librarians have been happy to clarify when I’ve contacted them. I could even adapt, since the

    FYE section is already planning to do annotated bibs. Maybe the zine could involve students sharing a thicker

    annotation of one source or a debrief after students share sources. The lesson intrigues me at any rate.

    By the way the Wallis presentation reminded me of a site called Terms of Service DIdn’t Read

    The instructor in a social media class turned me on to this site (She would probably like Wallis’s

    reading list.). If you want to know a site’s policies, ToSDR boils

    down the bolierplate language to something more layperson-friendly.


  5. I took a look at this video and accompanying questionnaire from Edmon Low Library:

    I like that it is a video, as I think students appreciate different types of media, and it would be easily usable in an on-line course or assign for a flipped classroom approach to a face to face class.

    The video discusses the value of information, starting out by equating not citing to hearing someone else telling your joke without giving you credit, and showing in a simple easy-to-understand way how all information has value to someone, and using this to explain the importance of citing. The video also addresses the value of the sources available to college students through the library, which I liked – I think a lot of students don’t really think about this because they don’t see the direct cost of the databases.

    I liked that the video follows up with a set of questions for student reflection to reinforce the concepts in the video right away.

    I think this video could be used as is, or we could easily make our own version tailored to our resources and expectations.


  6. I found this approach to “Information has Value” extremely relevant:

    The learning goals and assessmenst are focused on guiding students to a better understanding of the hows and whys of citation styles – why they are necessary and how they are built. As students deepen their grasp on intellectual property – what it is and how it should/needs to be protected, then a broader understanding of the basics of citing will [should] follow.

    As I survey our faculty regarding library instruction, they have answered a couple of questions for me that appear contradictory: most do not have a preferred citation style, but they want citation styles and academic honesty included in the library instruction. In addition, I am currently remodeling our MLA and APA interactive tutorials.

    For a one-shot library instruction that incorporates citation styles and academic honesty, one of my instructional goals would be to have the students identify the different elements of a source to be included in a citation and alternately, those same elements from within a citation (essentially breaking down the citation into its smallest parts). With a one-shot library instruction that has a limited amount of time for instruction and assessment and no follow-up homework, I’m probably stretching my time limit to include this much citation work.

    Of course, at this stage in the process, these ideas are rudimentary. However, any instruction that provides even the most basic coverage of academic honesty should give students a way to protect themselves against plagiarism and give credit to their source-providers, so time will have to be notched out of the instruction for citation work. There are other was to approach this particular frame; I’m looking at it from a fairly traditional vantage point.


  7. I looked through the comments about and selected
    as mentioned by J. Bryant. This was a brief video (under 3 minutes) from Oklahoma State on the frame, “information has value.” If I used this in teaching, I would probably use the original. It uses a humorous example to get the viewer to think about plagiarism and proper attribution without being “preachy.” It also discusses the the idea of “paywalls” and subscription journals without using jargon. The speaker is a young man who looks and talks like a popular, attractive college student. I like the “thought questions” at the bottom — these can be submitted online and are questions that require reflection and understanding of the material, such as when professional journals might/might not be valued. This activity is fun and lighthearted but gets the point across.


  8. I often teach students about the fiscal value of information…i.e. how difficult primary sources can be to find, especially when citations go wrong, or how the publishing system work or the importance of up-to-date information in health outcomes.

    I also talk about the bias in publishing in that publishers tend to value “positive” results because they will attract more attention than inconclusive results or those that back up the status quo.

    However, I don’t really get into the potential pitfalls when it comes to the systematic bias of information creation even though there have been recent studies that look into the challenges women face even when submitted to scholarly journals.

    That’s why I thought this lesson plan on the gender bias in wikipedia was interesting.

    Wikipedia is often seen as a neutral, if not always reliable, source for information because “anyone can edit.” However, in practice, similar prejudices about the value and relevance of edits apply. As does the makeup of the editing body. It’s something worth examining when it comes to the value of the information from a limited point of view.


  9. For Thing 7, I went back to the Framework video series by Cristina Colquhoun of Oklahoma State University (OSU), entitled “Inform Your Thinking – Information has value”. I really enjoy the way her library has handled the presentation of the frames. The videos get the message across in an appealing, easy to understand fashion. The “Inform Your Thinking” videos are followed by a series of questions that students answer in a google form. The last question for the “Information has Value” video asks the students in part, to provide examples of research at OSU that could be considered valuable and how the value of that research is demonstrated. I would not adapt this assignment. I would love to hear our students’ answers to this question to find out their impressions of the research that is done at our institution. It is likely that many students do not know that our institution does research, hearing their impressions would be enlightening.


  10. Joanna M. Burkhardt’s book Teaching Information Literacy Reframed: 50+ Framework-Based Exercises for Creating Information-Literate Learners contains clear explanations of each Framework followed by exercises. Her chapter “Information Has Value” breaks down different ways in which information has value, including copyright versus fair use, open access, public domain, plagiarism, citations, and personal information (117-126).

    The exercise I have selected will help students understand that items on the internet are not free and that there may be numerous costs associated with putting together a website.

    I have opted to paraphrase and quote from Exercise 54, “Is It Free?”: In order for students to learn and understand the costs behind creating a website, the instructor asks students to review a selected website and determine who pays for the following items:
    Domain name
    Upkeep and maintenance
    Subscription or membership
    Internet connectivity
    Computers, tablets, phones used to access
    Servers (132)


    Burkhardt, Joanna M. Teaching Information Literacy Reframed: 50+ Framework-Based Exercises for Creating
    Information-Literate Learners. Neal-Schuman, 2016.

    [I was unable to put the title of Burkhardt’s book in italics.]


  11. I have an idea relevant to this frame, but I haven’t tried it yet. I don’t feel like I can fully develop it until I’m working with a class that has an actual need for it. So here’s my mushy, undercooked idea.

    The lesson plan would be for art students, undergraduates or graduates, about fair use. Artists are constantly creating information but might not consider their work as information. They also might encounter a want or need to incorporate the work of others into their own, but what’s legal? This can help them value their own information and the information of others more.

    Perhaps the class could start with an overview of some fair use cases in the arts. I’m particularly thinking of a great workshop on fair use that I attended at the 2017 ARLIS Conference in New Orleans that did this. When briefly going over each case, ask students what they would think as the creator of the original work and the creator of the work under question. I could also see this as splitting the students into groups and have each group be assigned a case, read over some information on it, then quickly summarize it for the class.

    I’d also take the time to show them how to find public domain images to avoid the fair use fiasco and perhaps inspire them to incorporate the work of others into their own.

    Another take-away I’d include would be the general guidelines for fair use.


  12. The assignment, Inform Your Thinking: Information Has Value, from the ACRL Framework Sandbox (, contributed by Christina Colquhoun (Oklahoma State University), is another short (less than 3 minutes) video which helps students understand the value of the information provided, as well as the value of their access to this information. Four questions are listed, which require that students describe what the value of information means to them, and to provide their name and institution email address for credit.

    This video could be adapted by specifying the resources that we make available to our students at our institution. This adaptation would hopefully pique students’ interests into these valuable resources.

    Questions could be adapted as follow, with students providing answers in no less than 3 complete sentences:

    Do you acknowledge the value of information in your own research? If so, how?

    If your access to information was restricted or limited, how do you think it would affect your academic research? How would it affect your personal research?

    What kind of information is valuable to you in your daily life? How about in school? Is there a difference in the type of information you value depending on the setting?

    What type of information do you normally provide when signing up for social media? (for example: name, email address, date of birth, current location, etc.). Have you considered how valuable this information is to others, such as advertisers? Will you continue to provide this information? Why or why not?


  13. I read the following articles (and viewed the slides):
    Mapping and Sharing the Consumer Genome by Natasha Singer, Mining Student Data Could Save Lives by Michael Morris, and a response to that article as a letter to the editor called 1984 was a Warning Against Data Mining. All of these resources bring up the following point in one way or another, and that is that our data is given away to companies for free and we provide information and influence and we often do not even realize it. I think this gives an excellent opportunity to teach students about their role in acknowledging others’ contributions and the ethics behind that.
    Here is the lesson I found in the ACRL Sandbox:
    With so much visual information shared personally, I am not sure students always grasp the need to attribute correctly. Although in an education setting fair use is usually in play, I think it is important to get students used to the idea of correct attribution during their educational experience. If they are in the real world, failure to attribute could cost someone their reputation.
    This lesson plan does a quick script talking about copyright, credibility, and transparency within the context of a presentation. They take the students through groups of slides and ask questions about citing the source–like where does it come from, how do you know, why does it matter, etc. The lesson then goes into places to find images that can be used and how to cite them. The lesson plan also addresses whether you should cite your own image! The librarian is then to have a discussion about intellectual property and why it is important, how citing provides credibility and authority, how it protects your own work, and how it helps against plagiarism.There is a final slide that shows best practice on crediting images–they don’t go into a lot of details about correct citing format, but rather on the WHY.
    This lesson could be used pretty much as is in a class where there is an emphasis on presenting and visuals. We do have a business class here where I did a plan to briefly discuss the ethical use of images, but a more in depth lesson would be a good idea in other classes as well. I like the way the lesson is structured and scaffolds the concepts, leading to what the finished product should look like and why.


    • On several occasions I have had to teach classes where students may be using images for a final project that was a website or posted in a public facing shared wiki. A public e-portfolio if you will. This exercise by Alexander Justice is a better designed version of what I had attempted to do:

      We have access to ArtSTOR and several Streaming Video databases that students and faculty often use for in class presentations or embedding in our LMS, so the issue of copyright is covered by the Fair Use Doctrine in that particular instance.

      With this exercise students are required to explore who owns the rights to any images they intend to use. I would direct them to this Research Guide:

      as well as show them how to search Wikimedia Commons and Flickr with the limiters of copyright permissions.

      Part of this discussion should include the fact that if they are sharing their artwork, performances, or talents that they have the right to claim copyright and can use to explore how they want to share their creative works.



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